Chavez, the President of Venezuela, does a regular TV programme, Alo Presidente. In the latest one he dedicated twenty minutes to In Defence of Marxism (www.marxist.com). Chavez had received a copy of Reason in Revolt sent to him and personally signed by Alan Woods. Chavez spent the whole time on the programme with the book in his hands. And towards the end of the programme, after having congratulated Zapatero and the Spanish people for having won the elections, he explained that the book had been sent to him by Alan Woods.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide stepped down as President and left Haiti early in the morning on Sunday February 29. Shortly thereafter the US announced that it was sending in marines to help 'stabilize' the country and make way for a UN 'peacekeeping' force. The UN Security Council also decided that it will send a multi-national 'peacekeeping force' for at least three months as well as a 'stabilizing force' that it will send later in the year. These developments clearly demonstrate the reactionary role played by US imperialism in the region and far from solving the crisis in Haiti it is setting the stage for further unrest and instability in the whole area.

There has been yet another general strike in a Latin American country. There is now an endless list of countries experiencing serious social and economic crises welcoming the Dominican Republic into their ranks. Haiti’s neighbour has joined the French-speaking country that is suffering social convulsions and putting the entire island into deep unrest.

The election of Carole James as leader of the British Columbia New Democratic Party represents a victory for the status quo. James ran a campaign that concentrated on one thing and one thing only… Carole James. What we did not see were any commitments to actually do anything—no commitment to renationalize the Liberals’ sell-off of public assets, no commitment to reverse the Liberals’ regressive tax hikes (sales tax, medical plan fee, etc.) or negate the $2 billion tax cut to the rich, and definitely no commitment to do anything that would go beyond the position of the previous NDP government. This is of course intentional; the view of the party bureaucracy is that the BC NDP was destroyed at the last election because the party made promises that it didn’t deliver on. A typical worker from BC would say, “You didn’t keep your promises. You didn’t do anything to improve my life. Next time keep your promises!” It seems logical to most that the answer to this worker should be, “Yes, this time we will keep our promises and improve your life.” However, the bureaucratic clique around Carole James answers with, “If we make no promises, we promise not to break them!” This is the thin gruel that will be presented to BC voters in the next election.

Many skeptics say that a socialist society could never exist in America. They say that Americans are greedy and unwilling to join together in common struggle. But US labour history is rich with examples of the heroism of the working class in their struggle for a better world. 

On Tuesday September 23 a 24-hour warning general strike called by the National Front brought Panama to a standstill. It was called in protest against attacks on welfare. Jorge Martín reports.